Looking for a reliable source to buy tea online? Here’s my list of tea sellers I completely trust that offers great customer service and great quality tea. Plus, get tips on how to buy tea.
Photo Credits: Harney.com, inpursuitoftea.com, teacompanytea.com, encha.com, ippodotea.com, songtea.com
Tips on Buying Tea
- For higher-quality tea (and more expensive), buy from specialty tea sellers that purchase directly from tea farms. Huge chains tend to buy from brokers and the tea quality can vary from bad to good.
- If you want to get the absolute best, get tea from companies that specialize in a certain type of tea. They visit and buy direct from tea farms every year. For example, Ippodo Tea only sells green tea, including matcha, and they’re based in Japan.
- Loose tea is the best quality. Tea sachets contain good quality tea, and tea bags contain the lowest quality tea.
- When buying from a tea company for the first time, see if they sell samplers so you can try them out before making a bigger purchase.
If you want to get more into making tea like a pro, check out my Top 10 Tea Sommelier Tips and my Guide to Getting Into Tea.
Best Places Buy Tea Online
My picks for the best tea companies online. In my personal experience, they all sell high-quality tea and provide great customer service.
- Wide selection of good quality tea for the price.
- Excellent place to get tea sachets since they have a big range to choose from.
- My go-to brand when looking for tea for recipes.
- Get their tea from their site directly instead of Amazon which can do huge markups.
- I always thought they were based in England but they’re a US brand.
- SHIPPING: Free shipping no matter how small the order!
- WHAT TO GET: I’m a fan of their Earl Grey Supreme,Tower of London, and Paristeas.
Tea Sommelier’s Tip: To get into tea, start buying loose tea instead of tea bags. Loose tea is a higher quality tea.
- Sells high-quality loose tea, bought directly from tea farms.
- A nice selection of loose tea and tea sachets.
- Been in the tea business since 1999 — they’re one of the most established.
- When I’m looking for great quality black tea, I check their site first.
- They’re super friendly so if you have any question about your order or any of the teas they carry, don’t be afraid to email them!
- SHIPPING: Free shipping on orders over $50.
- WHAT TO GET: You can’t go wrong with any of their teas or their high-quality tea sachets. Also, get their book! (It’s great!)
- Specializes in Taiwanese oolong teas. I get almost all my oolong teas from Te Company.
- They get their tea by personally visiting tea farms and tasting their tea. (This is where price differences come in and what you’re paying a premium for.)
- Known for their delicious and famous pineapple linzer cookie.
- SHIPPING: Free shipping for orders over $100.
- WHAT TO GET: My favorite — the Frozen Summit Reserve, a roasted oolong. I LOVE it hot and iced.
Tea Sommelier’s Tip: Smaller tea shops tend to hand select their tea collection by visiting tea farms in Asia and tasting each tea they purchase. It’s rare for them to sell tea bags and will only sell high quality loose tea.
- Excellent quality matcha for the price. I recommend and use their matcha for lattes and in recipes.
- Matcha made in Japan and it’s the real deal unlike other matcha that’s sold on Amazon.
- Buy it on Amazon.com for the best shipping rates.
- SHIPPING: Free if you have Amazon Prime, otherwise free on orders over $25.
- WHAT TO GET:Ceremonial Grade Organic Matcha, which I use to make my lattes.
Tea Sommelier’s Tip: Only buy matcha that comes from Japan. Low quality green tea powder from China can be labeled as matcha but they’ll look more brown than green.
- A Japanese tea company that has been in the green tea business for nearly three centuries, yup, CENTURIES.
- Sells only Japanese green tea and teaware.
- My go-to place for buying high-quality green tea. I also have a lot of their teapots.
- A drawback is that they have TOO many matchas in all different grades so it can get confusing trying to figure out which one to get.
- SHIPPING: Free shipping on orders over $39.
- WHAT TO GET:Matcha, matcha, matcha.
- Song Tea & Ceramics is what I would consider luxury tea.
- The price points for their tea and teaware are on the higher end so you may experience some sticker shock.
- All tea is sourced directly from tea farms.
- Unique teaware you won’t find anywhere else.
- Simple, gorgeous packaging that takes tea to another level.
- SHIPPING: Free shipping with no minimum.
- WHAT TO GET: I’m obsessed with their Shan Lin Xi Winter Sprout. It tastes like cotton candy.
Questions You May Have
Loose tea is sold by ounces or grams and they’ll have set minimum amounts.
You will probably use about 4-5 grams of tea for each cup. So for a 50 gram package of tea, you’ll get at least 10 servings.
The minimum ounce sold is usually 2 oz. which converts to about 57 grams of tea. Two ounces of tea is roughly 11 servings.
I like Harney & Sons tea bags but remember that they contain the lowest quality tea. Tea sachets (tea bags shaped like pyramids) and loose tea are so much better. This is true of any tea company.
- Quick Start Tea Guide
- How to Make Tea Properly
- Difference Between Loose Tea, Tea Sachets, and Tea Bags
- Want to Get into Oolong Tea? Start Here.
- Best Tea Canisters
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Purchasing good tea is up to the senses. Our advice will help you make the leap from bagged tea to a world of bigger flavour.
Loose leaf tea is considered by many to be the champagne of teas – a higher end drinking experience offering an enhanced taste, aroma and appearance when served. If you’ve wanted to make the switch from tea bags but were nervous because you don’t know how to go about shopping for it, set your mind at ease. Let us demystify for you how to buy loose leaf tea.
The advantage of loose leaf tea
Before we jump into what to look for, it’s worth noting why loose leaf tea offers a better flavour. The answer is startingly simple: space. Tea leaves need room to unfurl in the boiling water to release all their characteristics for the full flavour effect. While a tea bag is convenient for storage, they act like a straight-jacket on the tea leaves and don’t provide the room to express themselves fully. If you don’t like little bits of tea leaves in your cup, consider using an infuser to steep your tea.
Choosing your tea type
The first step in selecting a tea is to know the distinctive characteristics of the type of tea you want to buy. Are you interested in buying a green tea that is lighter in colour and has a fresh grass-like taste? Maybe you’re looking for a black tea that has a more intense colour with a bolder taste?
While most teas come in the form of dried whole leaves, some teas are shaped like small pellets that dissolve in water. Know what type (or types) you’re interested in before you venture to the store so you know what to look for.
How loose leaf tea should look
Good quality loose leaf teas are produced by oxidizing the whole leaf to help it retain its flavour. However for some types of black teas, the leaves are cut intentionally to intensify the flavour.
Look for tea that is in the form of the whole leaf with a few buds attached. There should be no stems or other debris mixed with the tea as this will compromise the taste. Ideally, all tea leaves should be the same shape to ensure all leaves brew evenly. Tea leaves should gently unfurl when steeped.
Make sure the colour of the tea matches the type of tea you are buying. Lighter teas have a deep green colour while a dark tea with a longer oxidation period will have a dark brown or black colour.
How loose leaf tea should feel
Even though they are dried, tea leaves should have some weight to them to indicate freshness. The leaves should not crumble in your hand – if they do, this is an indication that the tea has either been baked too long or has gone stale.
How loose leaf tea should smell
Loose leaf tea has a natural aroma in its dried state. If you can barely detect the aroma, then the leaves are of low quality. Be cautious of teas that have a stronger aroma than they should as they might have been flavoured with other ingredients.
Once brewed, the tea should give off a pleasant, natural aroma.
How loose leaf tea should taste
Be familiar with the taste of the tea type you are buying. A black tea has a bold flavour while a green tea has a milder sweet flavour. It should have a nice aftertaste that lingers. A good quality loose leaf tea can be steeped several times before losing its flavour completely.
Once the tea has been brewed, swirl it around your mouth so it reaches all taste points on your tongue.
As you become more familiar with the different types of loose leaf teas, you will learn that teas from one region will taste differently from tea leaves grown in another region, much like how the terroir in which grapes are grown affects the flavours of the wine produced from them.
Tips for storing loose leaf tea
Proper storage for your tea leaves is a must to lock in the freshness and taste.
Each tea type should be packed in its own opaque airtight container that is stored in a cool dark place. Keeping tea out of the kitchen ensures that it won’t pick up aromas from other foods.
With time, you’ll settle on a few types of tea that will become your favourites and that you’ll buy like a pro. After all, practice makes the perfect cup.
| What to Look For
When Buying Loose Leaf Teas
With so many teas available today, the problem becomes choosing what you want to
buy. I always advise buying small amounts of any new tea. Some companies even offer
small sample packets so you can do a taste test on several different teas inexpensively.
New advances in technology such as vacuum packaging, and air freight, have given us
access to a cornucopia of teas we didn’t have a decade ago. We now can sample from
teas produced in small batches, from small, local tea farmers, from some of the best tea
producing countries in the world, such as China , Japan , and India , delivered fresh to our doorstep.
| Cleanliness – Next to Godliness
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No reproductions of any kind allowed without permission.
Although there’s no surefire 100% guaran-
tee, I have a few tips and suggestions on
what to do and look for, both in person and
online, or by mail order, to help you get the
best teas possible.
One of the first things you should do before
setting out, is to familiarize yourself with the
types of tea you’re interested in buying.
You may also want to check on what the tea’s growing cycles are, for
example, is it a spring or fall harvested tea. You also shouldn’t see stems
or debris in the tea, (with the exception of kukicha tea) and the leaves
should all be of a similar size and shape.
Smaller pieces of leaf brew faster than larger, so all tea leaves should be
of a uniform size and quality.
Is there a smaller assortment of well
tended teas. or a huge assortment of
musty looking packages that look as
though they’ve seen better days? A
large assortment of teas in which to
choose from is nice, but if it’s not turn-
ing over and current and selling well,
with steady buyers, it’s just a big waste
And, while we’re on the topic of freshness, as a rule of thumb, proprietary brands – tea
bought in bulk by independent tea merchants and packaged under their name in tins,
foil sacks, and tie bags, is generally fresher than branded
teas, packaged by the big tea companies.
Now, moving on to mail order and online tea merchants.
One of the first things you should do is to check out their
catalog or website. Is the information easy to understand
and are the prices clearly marked? Or, is their catalog or
website a cluttered mess, filled with marketing lingo and
self-promotion and hype, rather than useful information about their products?
Whenever I order online or by mail order, I like to call and talk to a “live” person the first
time ordering. You can learn a lot about a company by talking to them in person.
First off, is the staff friendly and seem genuinely interested in helping
you, rather than just pushing for a sale? Secondly, they should be
able to answer any questions you have and be knowledgeable about
all their products (I usually ask a few general questions I already
know the answer to, just as a little test).
But you should feel free to ask about anything and get a clear an-
swer. Ask about the growing cycles and when a new crop of fresh
tea will be available. If you don’t understand the grading terms , or
markings on tins and packaging, ask about it. You’ve heard the say-
ing – the only stupid question is the one not asked. So true.
jill’s tea blog
The world of loose leaf tea can be intimidating—so many choices! And how do you decide how much to buy?
Those pesky grams . . .
It doesn’t make it any easier that bulk tea is often sold in grams or in odd amounts of ounces.
That is because most of the world uses grams, and the U.S. equivalents end up being an odd amount. So a nice round 50 grams of tea ends up being 1.76 ounces in the U.S.
But how much IS 1.76 ounces?
For some comparison, a single-serving Hersey’s chocolate bar is 1.55 ounces while a Snickers bar is 1.86 ounces.
But 1.76 ounces of loose leaf tea gives you roughly 15 to 20 cups of tea.
The range of cup yield is because you will use a different tea leaf to water ratio depending on the type of tea you have.
Some teas need one level teaspoon per 8 ounces of water, whereas others need more—especially for light, bulky teas such as Silver Needle white tea (incidentally, those are more accurately weighed rather than measured by teaspoon, but expediency rules for most of us!).
And making tea an even better bargain—
Unlike coffee beans, which can be brewed only once, tea leaves can often be reused.
Milky Jade oolong leaves
Most oolong teas and many green and white teas can—and often should—be rebrewed. The leaves will continue to release flavor, and successive brews may even be more flavorful than the first infusion.
So 1.76 ounces may actually give you anywhere from 30 to 60 cups of tea!
When thinking about the price of high-quality teas, even an expensive tea may not be so costly when you consider the number of brews you can make per teaspoon of tea leaves.
Compare the premium Japan Gyokuro (which can be rebrewed) to a bottle of wine.
For about the same price, you can get fifty grams of tea or a decent bottle of wine. The wine bottle will give you 5 five-ounce servings, but the 50 grams of tea will give you at least 30 to 40 eight-ounce servings!
So how much to buy?
Here is a handy chart (this is assuming an 8-ounce cup and a one-time use of the leaves):
- 50 g = 1.7 oz = 15–20 cups
- 100 g = 3.53 oz = 30–40 cups
- 250 g = 8.82 oz = 75–100 cups
- 500 g = 17.64 oz = 150–200 cups
While tea keeps for months and even years, for optimal flavor you will want to buy only what you will use up in a reasonable amount of time.
Note: Premium Milky Jade oolong and premium Japan Gyokuro green are available at TeaHaus .
A cup of tea brewed using the finest loose leaf tea is a cup of tea you’ll never forget. Loose leaf tea does not come pre-packaged in tea bags. The tea leaves are of a much higher quality given that they aren’t stuffed into a small bag and have more room to breathe and safeguard their original flavour. If you don’t mind putting in extra effort to sip on an exclusive brew, loose leaf tea is just what you need. There’s nothing better than savouring the smokey feel of an oolong or the distinctive flavours of a black tea blend.
The extraordinary doesn’t always come knocking at your door; sometimes you have to meet it halfway. Same is the case with adding the finest loose leaf tea to your shelf. When you are new to something and are exposed to a variety of flavours, quality, and scents, spotting the right blend for you is the same as looking for a needle in a haystack. To help you brew a ‘one-of-a-kind tea experience’.
Here is the Beginner’s Guide to choose loose leaf.
1. Study different teas types
It’s important to familiarise yourself with different tea types before making the ultimate choice. Green teas are fresh tea leaves with very little processing. The most exotic teas in the world, White teas are the rarest of rare teas. Black teas are the most commonly consumed tea in the world. A piece of art, tradition and craftsmanship is seen in a cup of Oolong tea. The best part about Pu erh is that, like wine, it only gets better with time.
2. Looks aren’t always deceiving
The first and foremost rule is that the larger the leaf, the higher the quality and the better the flavour. Pale green teas will usually be lighter in terms of flavour, while the dark green colour may indicate a strong infusion. If a strong cup of tea is what, then choose broken leaves without a second thought.
3. Let fragrances guide you
Take the scent in to make sure that the leaves are fresh. It is said- if the leaves smell good, the brew is bound to taste good. If you are on a herbal tea hunt, focus on colour and scent. If the herbs are faded or don’t have a fragrance, they are probably stale.
4. Background checks are important
Always read the full description and ingredients list. When artificial flavouring or sweeteners are added to a blend, they dilute the natural health benefits. Also, the descriptions add more to the experience as you are now aware of the interesting back story of how the tea came into being. If you are allergic to certain food items, the ingredients list will be your saviour.
The temperature in a warehouse can be easily controlled than the one in the shop. Hence, online teas are fresher than the ones placed on the shelves in stores. Tea Culture Of The World is home to the best loose leaf tea in India. Choose the best loose leaf tea online and embrace the many loose leaf tea health benefits.
Why loose leaf tea is better?
If you want to savour a tea blend’s true flavours and aromas, then loose tea leaves are what you must turn to! Although far more convenient, tea bags often fall short on giving you the exclusive tea experience that loose tea leaves can. A brew made of loose tea leaves caters to all your senses. Since the leaves aren’t crammed into a bag, they preserve their original flavour and scent. These infusions give you an enchanting visual experience as the leaves unfurl beautifully into the cup.
Is Loose leaf tea better than bagged?
Both loose leaf teas and tea bags come with their own conveniences and drawbacks.
A brew made of loose tea leaves caters to all your senses. Since the leaves aren’t crammed into a bag, they preserve their original flavour and scent. These infusions give you an enchanting visual experience as the leaves unfurl beautifully into the cup.
But, indulging in a brew made of loose leaf teas requires a lot more efforts compared to tea bags. With tea bags, you don’t need multiple tea accessories at your service. All you need a cup, your little tea bag, and you are good to go!
Why is loose leaf tea so expensive?
Loose leaf teas are often priced the way they are because of the exclusive experience they bring to the table. Tea connoisseurs are well aware of the magical brews born out of loose leaf teas. A brew made of loose tea leaves caters to all your senses. Since the leaves aren’t crammed into a bag, they preserve their original flavour and scent. These infusions give you an enchanting visual experience as the leaves unfurl beautifully into the cup.
How much loose leaf tea should I use for one cup?
The quantity of loose leaf tea that you should add to one cup varies depending on the tea blend. But, these are the ideal quantities for the usual tea blends:
- Green tea: 1 Teaspoon
- Black tea: 1 Teaspoon
- Masala Chai: 1 Teaspoon
- Kashmiri Kahwa: 2 Teaspoons
How long should loose leaf tea steep?
The steeping time differs depending on the tea blend. But, these are the ideal quantities for the usual tea blends:
- Green tea: 3 minutes
- Black tea: 4 minutes
- Masala Chai: 4 minutes
- Kashmiri Kahwa: 3 minutes
by Imperial Tea Garden December 13, 2017
This is the first part in a five part blog dedicated to the crucial elements in producing the best loose leaf tea. This seems like difficult task at first because everyone’s tastes are so different. Exactly how do we know what is the best loose leaf tea? It’s really about maximizing the potential of each tea bush and producing a desired and consistent result rather than producing the best tea leaf per se. Let’s break down these elements in detail.
India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka Tea Harvests
- First Flush: March – April
- Second Flush: May – June
- Monsoon Flush: July – August
- Autumnal Flush: October – November
China & Taiwan Tea Harvests
- Qing Ming “clear bright” – tea picked before April 4-6
- Yu Qian “before the rains” – tea picked before April 20
- Gu Yu “grain rain” – tea picked before May 5
- Li Xia “start of summer” – tea picked before May 21
Japan Tea Harvest
- Shincha “new tea” – The name given to the first harvest of the year
- Ichibancha “first tea” – Includes entire first harvest season including shincha and typically occurs from late April to May
- Nibancha “second tea” – The second harvest of the year taking place June to the end of July
- Sanbancha “third tea” – The third harvest of the year
- Yonbancha “fourth tea” – The fourth harvest of the year and can take place as late as October
African Tea Harvests
The East African tea producing countries (Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Burundi, and Ethiopia) are able to produce and harvest year round due to the lack of a cold season with peak tea production coinciding the weather. The best teas are harvested during periods with low rainfall and bright sunny days. January/February and July/August are peak harvest times for these tea producing countries. These regions are all producing great loose leaf tea, however, hand plucked over mass produce mechanized harvesting will always yield better results.
Click the following links to get more information on how to buy the best teas online
Taryn Nugent Apr 27, ’21
At Full Leaf Tea Company, our teas cost approximately 28 to 40 cents per cup. We all know that’s much less than what you pay at coffee stands, tea shops, and restaurants. So if you’re looking to cut down on the cost of drinks outside the home, loose leaf is the cheaper route.
However, let’s compare loose leaf to prebagged teas. Loose leaf tea (especially comparing organic instead of conventional) is generally more expensive than bagged tea. There’s a good reason for this: quality, but if we ignore quality, Full Leaf Tea Co. still measures up well on the affordability scale.
When you think of mainstream tea brands, you may be able to spout off a few. Some of the most common include Bigelow and Twinings. Bigelow and Twinings come in at about 18 cents per cup and 22 cents per cup, respectively. However, they both use dust and fanning grades of tea (the waste product of tea, which you can read more about in our “What is Full Leaf Tea” blog). Studies have found that some of these tea companies teabags have plastic in them and have also found traces of pesticides (which can happen when you don’t choose organic).
It’s also essential to consider when using tea bags; it’s a one-and-done steeping experience. Unless you like your tea very lightly steeped, then you’re likely not getting more than one use out of it. In contrast, loose leaf tea can retain its flavor in its second and sometimes third steep. (You can read more about reusing tea leaves in our How to Reuse Tea blog).
When you move up a step in quality, you get teas that use broken leaves in teabags (brands that claim they are using a full leaf are not being 100% honest because while they may be buying full leaf grade, the tea must be crushed in order to fit in their prefilled bags). Harney & Sons is an excellent example of this (they use larger sachets, but it still results in broken tea). Once you get to bagged tea at this level, you’re paying more for lower quality tea than you would for loose leaf. (Harney & Sons comes in at about 44 cents per cup).
When it comes to tea, your options seem endless. Loose leaf teas, organic teas, pre-bagged teas, etc. – ultimately, your best bet for flavor and value will always be loose leaf tea. At Full Leaf Tea Co., we believe quality and flavorful tea shouldn’t come with a sacrifice. We’re USDA-certified organic, and our teas don’t come pre-bagged.
Best Loose Leaf Tea: How much loose leaf tea per cup.
Jan 9 · 3 min read
Loose Leaf Black Tea — Bulk Loose Leaf Tea : How much loose leaf tea per cup & Find the Best loose leaf tea with Natural passion. Sources of Bulk Loose Leaf Tea.
Loose Leaf Black Tea — Why Care About It?
What makes the best loose leaf black tea?
You’ve been a tea lover all your life, haven’t you? All those mornings without it had been dull and all those evening snacks had to be accompanied by it.
You didn’t think about it much. Why care now?
Because, You haven’t tasted the best l o ose leaf tea yet. That’s right. Just like coffee, tea has its intricacies. There are so many different varieties that you still haven’t tasted yet. Heck, your own cup of tea every morning has a different taste. That single type of tea adds different meanings to your mood each day. But what if you taste a type that completely transforms your life?
You know, a sudden jolt of surprise when the flavor hits your taste buds. That is a moment to reckon and that is what the best loose leaf black tea is going to give you straight away after you take that one holy sip. And that, my friend, is what makes a certain loose tea the best. Where to buy loose leaf tea and where does this best tea come from?
Of course, there are many producers and exporters of tea in the world. Sri Lanka is one of them. It is not just a beverage in that part of the world, but a way of life — a passion that spans 7 agro-climatic regions in the country to produce export quality tea.
It is from one of those regions that the best loose black leaf tea gets its tea from. Packed right when its fresh leaves are still laden with all their aroma and freshness of a well-maintained tea field, the best loose leaf tea is kept until someone in search of an unforgettable flavor comes to get it.
Like when you go out to buy those things that make who you are.
There’s a name for it — Ceylon Tea
Before Sri Lanka was independent, it was called Ceylon — a British tea heaven where lords and ladies came to taste tea royalty itself.
That legacy continues and buyers from around the world come to these historic places to search for their taste — the one that defines them.
But you don’t have to go there. The very existence of the best loose leaf tea is here for you to enjoy that same taste, aromas, and freshness.
Its handpicked leaves are here to tell the tales of exquisite passion for something so widely available and yet, so little cherished.
And it’s not killing the environment
Ceylon tea is export quality because the Sri Lankan government makes as much as $1.5 billion from it.
Not at the expense of the environment they grow in.Not at the expense of the ozone layer that is there to protect us.
The government has a surefire way of ensuring that. It has partnered with international organizations and conventions that help chalk out a roadmap for a harmless blend of taste, finesse, and most importantly, care for the world you live in.
You could be a part of this preservation, too, all the while taking sips of the best loose leaf tea. All you have to do is hop on the train that takes you to the best loose leaf tea